6 Proven Tactics to Build Limited-Time Offers (With Examples)

6 Proven Tactics to Build Limited-Time Offers (With Examples)
Artem Tiulnikov Artem Tiulnikov Apr 28, 2022 —  10 min read

We’re all familiar with the excitement of getting a bargain. It just feels good to grab that limited-time offer while it lasts. That’s how we’re hard-wired to think.

And guess what? Most companies know that. They actively use the power of daily deals and clearances to boost sales year-round.

Want to know how? Keep reading this post to find out.

Below, we’ll review 10 limited-time offer examples, talk about the best practices, and explain why they work. Also, we’ll give you a full tutorial on how to promote them on your website coding-free. By the end of the article, you’ll be best equipped for your next sale.

Do limited-time offers work?

Limited offers outperform regular ones. Period. But that’s not news. Hubspot found that out way back in 2012 and their findings are still relevant.

The driving force of short-term sales is the combination of exclusivity, urgency, and scarcity.

Based on these principles, limited-time offer wording usually features:

  • Time restriction (“Today only!”, “Valid through”, “Ends tomorrow”, “Last day!”)

  • Supply restriction (“While supplies last!”, “Limited quantities”, “Get them before they’re gone”)

Depending on your business niche, you can use either of these or even both. For instance, Black Friday is one of those days when both types of restrictions are relevant due to the huge volume of sales happening in 24 hours.

Chic moeY highlights its limited-time Black Friday sale

But it’s not just the wording you can play with when crafting a limited-time offer. You can also use different approaches and add variety to your promo campaigns.

Here are 6 limited-time offer examples you’ll read about below:

  1. Countdown timer

  2. Category sale

  3. Sitewide sale

  4. Flash sale

  5. Seasonal clearance

  6. First-time purchase

We’re going to provide examples for each category and break them down to see why each tactic works.

1. Limited-time offers paired with a countdown timer

As the name of the category implies, these are limited-time offers that have a countdown timer to them.

Countdown timers urge visitors to act fast and expose them to the fear of missing out.

Let’s see that in action.

Best Buy, a consumer electronics retailer, features its 24-hour deal of the day in the dedicated section at the top of the website next to the timer. And because this is an eye-catching sitewide announcement, every website visitor is guaranteed to notice it.

Best Buy features its deal of the day and adds a countdown timer to the promotion

The countdown timer creates an irresistible desire to add the product to the cart, especially when the deal is paired with the “Limited quantities” note. But there is more behind it.

If you’ve heard of Best Buy, you know they have thousands of items in store. What are the chances that these 2 Google Nest Hubs will make it into the deal of the day again, and just for $99.99? Right, the chances are low. And that’s why you have to get the product now if you’re interested.

A countdown timer may be able to boost conversions from 3.5% to 10%, according to WordStream.

Another great example of countdown timers is brought by Blue Apron, a meal kit subscription service.

Blue Apron catches a leaving visitor’s attention with a modal limited time offer popup that has a countdown timer

To announce the offer, they use a so-called an exit-intent popup. It displays right when a website visitor is about to leave and suggests acting fast to grab a $50 coupon. If you agree to accept the offer, you’re prompted to create an account with the discount already applied.

With Blue Apron, you’re really pressed for time. Unlike Best Buy, they take urgency to the next level and only give you 30 minutes to take action. So you better be quick if you want to secure that sweet deal.

If you want a similar popup for your store, stick around until the end of the article. We’ll show you how to create popups with limited-time deals and display them on your website without a single line of code.

2. Limited-time sale for product category

If you have multiple product categories on your website and you want to promote specific product types, start a category sale.

Limited-time offers on selected categories are a great way to give the slow-moving stock a little boost.

Let’s consider the Top Deals section of Bed Bath & Beyond, one of the biggest domestic merchandise stores.

Bed Bath & Beyond showcases its limited time deals sorted into categories

There is a unique promo offer for each product category, all with a mix of urgency and scarcity. Some of them imply limited inventory, while others are valid for a short period of time. The idea is that these select top deals will get you the most value for your money if you make haste.

So, if you’re after these up to $120 off select vacuums, don’t dilly-dally too much because the offer may be gone any minute.

3. Sitewide sales

If promoting select categories is not relevant in your case, a limited-time sitewide sale might be a good idea. Here's Tobi, a fast-fashion retail store for women, announcing its 50% off sitewide deal.

Tobi brings forth a huge sitewide limited time offer on landing

Notice that their offer takes up the entire landing page — it’s literally the first thing you see when you open the website.

Limited-time offers promoted sitewide will help you convert more first-time visitors into customers.

Groupon, a global e-commerce marketplace, also uses this strategy on their website. Check it out:

Groupon introduces visitors to a sitewide sale, featuring stackable discounts

To make the deal more attractive, they specify the categories participating in the sale. By doing that, Groupon increases the chances that more visitors will see a relevant category and decide to take advantage of the offer.

4. Flash sales

When you run a flash sale, you greatly drop prices on select products for a very short period of time.

Flash deals push visitors to impulse buy your products and help you sell your surplus stock.

This is how iHerb, an online supplement store, goes about it.

iHerb draws visitors’ attention to its flash sale coupled with other offers

There are always multiple offers running on the iHerb website, but we’re here to look into their flash sale.

Not only do they use the time limit and the limited quantity, but iHerb also adds an indicator showing how many discounted products have been claimed.

Placed right below the product, the green bar starts filling up as customers make purchases. That bar telegraphs that the product is in demand and you have to be quick if you want to get it.

There’s another flash sale example brought to us by JackRabbit, a one-stop shop for everything runners need.

JackRabbit goes for a flash sale and makes it very convenient to navigate through discounted items

JackRabbit has so many products on sale, there is a dedicated page for you to sort and filter discounted products and categories. It ensures convenience when browsing items and increases the chances that the visitor will quickly find what they need and make the purchase.

5. Seasonal clearance

A seasonal clearance is a sale held only several times a year and anticipated by the customers. The infrequent nature of these sales excites customers and makes them wait for another seasonal sale to come.

A seasonal sale is an excellent opportunity to promote limited-time offers year-round.

Target, one of the largest retailers in the United States, knows that better than anyone else.

Target announces its seasonal sale, instilling a sense of urgency into customers

They call their seasonal clearance “dash”, as if it were a sporting competition where customers race against each other and dash to checkout before it’s too late. Only the fastest will be victorious, and they’ll be rewarded with the best deals.

Target is a great example of how the right colors and the right copy used to announce limited-time offers can make a difference.

Faherty Brand, a clothing and lifestyle brand, is running a winter sale and promotes it with a floating bar at the top of the page that matches the website’s colors.

Faherty Brand shows its winter steal announcement bar

It may be less catchy than some of the examples above, but it doesn’t mean it’s less effective.

The clickable light-brown announcement bar at the top of the webpage is always in view and remains visible regardless of where you click on the website. And the copy, as simplistic and concise as it is, gives visitors a good idea of what to expect.

6. First-time purchase discount

Did you know that around 80% of shoppers feel positive about buying from a new brand when given a solid offer? In other words, a special discount targeting first-time shoppers may nudge them into becoming lifetime customers.

As a rule, it’s more difficult (and expensive) to sell something to newcomers rather than to your existing customers. So, using limited-time offers aimed exclusively at those who hear about your brand for the first time is a strategy worth trying.

Look at how thredUP, a second-hand clothes store, uses this tactic combined with a sense of urgency.

ThreadUP offers limited time discounts to its first-time customers

The best part here?

The thredUP team kills two birds with one stone. This limited-time offer popup appears a couple of seconds after a first-time visitor lands on their website, and it helps the company build their email list, too.

As new shoppers become subscribers, the brand can maintain engagement by sending new offers and promotions via email. Great job, thredUP!

Time to create your own limited-time offers

Now that you’ve read through 6 types of limited-time offers, learned what they’re good for and what makes each of them work, it’s time to recreate one of them on your website.

There is no need to create a dedicated landing page to announce a new promo. If you want to implement it quickly and without the help of a developer, Getsitecontrol is the tool for you.

Getsitecontrol is an app that helps you quickly add floating bars and popups to your website and use them to announce sales.

Interested, uh? Well then, without further ado, here are the steps to create your own limited-time offer popup.

Step 1. Create an account & install Getsitecontrol on your website

Before you can start creating your first popup, you’ll need to create an account on the platform. Once that is done, follow the steps in the instructions to install Getsitecontrol on your website.

Step 2. Choose a template

When you have completed the formalities, you can go ahead and choose a popup template from the gallery. Here is the template we’ll use as a base for this tutorial:

Choose a template that is similar to the result you’d like to get, but don’t stress too much about it: all the templates are fully customizable, so you’ll be able to achieve what you want anyway.

When you find a template you like, open it and hit the Take this template button to bring it to the Getsitecontrol dashboard for editing.

Step 3. Craft the copy & design of your offer

From the Design tab of the dashboard, you can edit the content of the template. Click the relevant section on the menu on the right to change its text:

ThreadUP offers limited time discounts to its first-time customers

If you want to add an extra field to your popup, click the + Add field button in the fields section and proceed to choose the field type. As you can see in the screenshot below, we’ve added a consent checkbox that allows our subscribers to give consent to receiving promotional material.

The Add field button and the consent checkbox in the popup preview

On the second page of the popup, you’ll reward your newly-acquired subscribers with the offer they signed up for. To do that, set up a button that will copy the coupon code for them, so that they can use it at checkout right away. Here’s how to do it:

Click the Page 2 button in the bottom-right corner of the screen to open the second page of the popup. Proceed to edit the copy by following the same steps you’ve just seen. When you get to the button, open its settings and remove the current Close widget action associated with it. Then, click the + Add action button and select Copy to clipboard from the menu:

The Copy to clipboard option

When prompted, insert the coupon code you want customers to copy to the clipboard, and you’re all set!

Now that the content of the popup is ready, we can move on to its appearance, which is also a determining factor in the success of the offer.

The element that gets the most attention is the image, so choose it wisely. You can change the image by clicking on it in the preview. Then, browse the built-in gallery or upload an image from your device. If necessary, change the image settings to adjust how it fits in the popup:

The image settings in the dashboard

Follow these steps for both pages of your popup.

The second page of the template

Use the Theme section to further modify the design of your popup. From there, you can change the popup’s font, color palette, and style.

To check the appearance of your popup on mobile devices, switch to the mobile preview mode:

Preview of the mobile version of the popup

And that covers the content and appearance of the popup. Let’s move on to the Targeting tab to program its behavior.

Step 4. Set up targeting conditions for your popup

The Targeting tab is where you decide when and where the promo will pop up on your website.

As you can imagine, this is a crucial step for the success of your offer, so think carefully about where, when, and for how long you want people to see your popup.

Here are our suggestions for targeting settings for a limited-time offer popup.

Display your offer sitewide to ensure that your visitors will see it regardless of the page they’re on. To do that, simply keep the default settings of the page targeting ( Display widget on ):

The page targeting settings in the Targeting tab

Since ours is an offer for the first purchase, show your popup to new visitors only. You can do that in the Display widget if section by choosing VisitNew visitor:

New visitors condition in the targeting settings

Next, add a time condition to the Start displaying widget section to give your visitors a chance to look around before they see your offer:

Time on website condition in the targeting settings

People tend to dismiss popups without even looking at them if they see them too soon. This condition aims to prevent that.

Finally, we recommend programming the popup to stop displaying after a visitor has taken action (in our case, submitted the email form). In the Stop displaying widget section, click the + Add condition button and select Upon action. Then, remove the pre-set condition ( Stop displaying for 1 day after the user closed it ).

The settings of the Stop displaying widget section of the Targeting tab

And that concludes our suggestions for targeting settings. Getsitecontrol allows for countless other targeting options, including the exit-intent trigger we mentioned above, so feel free to experiment to achieve different results.

When you are done, hit the Save & close button, proceed to activate the popup, and you are all set.

With minimal variations to the steps described above, you’ll be able to create an exit-intent popup like the one used by Blue Apron, place a sticky promo bar at the top of a webpage like Groupon does, or even add a countdown timer for your deal like Best Buy’s. Getsitecontrol allows you to put in practice all the successful strategies we reviewed earlier in this article without touching your website’s code.

Too good to be true? Try it for yourself!

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